ABOUT VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION

Our Story

Fifty years ago, a city with a rich history of art, culture and philanthropy opened the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the center of civic and cultural vitality.

Since 1987, the Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the city, the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. Through this collaboration and the generosity of donors, the Foundation has provided grants of more than $14 million to ensure arts education training for more than 400 teachers and arts education programming to more than 30,000 students and at-risk youth across four counties each year.

Our Mission

The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts.

Leading Roles

VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2020 – 2021

Van Wezel Foundation Board Leadership:

James Travers
Board Chair*

Jenne K. Britell
Board Vice-Chair & Chair of Strategic Planning Committee*

Vern Chalfant
Board Treasurer & Chair of Finance Committee*

Julie Harris
Board Secretary*

Michael Wilson
Legal Counsel

Van Wezel Foundation Board Members:
Ali Bahaj
Chair of Governance Committee*

Gerald L. Biller

Chad Campbell

Mark P. Famiglio

Sharon Hillstrom

Michele Hooper

Dr. Jaih Jackson

David Koffman

Michael Martella

Dr. John Maupin

Elaine McClure

Karl Newkirk

Rochelle Nigri

Walt Pearson

Nanci Ross-Weaver
Chair of Arts Education & Community Engagement Committee*

Charles Wilson

Van Wezel Foundation Ex Officio Board Members:
Mary Bensel
Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Cheryl Mendelson
CEO, Van Wezel Foundation

*Executive Committee

COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Darrell Ayers
Jackie Griese
Stephen Griese
Ed Maier
Drayton Saunders
Craig Steinhoff
Janet Walter
Christopher Weaver
Patricia White
Janet Winkler

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Herta Cuneo†
John M. Dart
Beatrice Friedman†
John Jakes
Carolyn Michel
Michael R. Pender, Jr.
Harvey Rothenberg†

† deceased

STAFF

Cheryl Mendelson
Chief Executive Officer
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Sasha Hausman, CFRE
Director of Development
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Suzanne Hudson-Smith, CFRE
Associate Director of Leadership Gifts
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Nancy Denton
Annual Giving Manager
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Cathleen Mai
Administration Manager
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Alyssa Holcomb
Foundation Coordinator
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